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Tue Apr 24, 2012, 03:07 PM

Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy


Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy
The US government's suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian

Michael Ratner
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 April 2012


On 24 April, a hearing in one of the most important court martial cases in decades will take place in Fort Meade, Maryland. The accused faces life in prison for the 22 charges against him, which include "aiding the enemy" and "transmitting defense information". His status as an alleged high-profile whistleblower and the importance of the issues his case raises should all but guarantee the proceedings a prominent spot in major media, as well as in public debate.

Yet, in spite of the grave implications, not to mention the press and public's first amendment right of full and open access to criminal trials, no outside parties will have access to the evidence, the court documents, court orders or off-the-record arguments that will ultimately decide his fate. Under these circumstances, whatever the outcome of the case, the loser will be the transparency necessary for democratic government, accountable courts and faith in our justice system.

In the two years since his arrest for allegedly leaking the confidential files that exposed grand-scale military misconduct, potential war crimes and questionable diplomatic tactics, army private Bradley Manning has been subjected to an extremely secretive criminal procedure. It is a sad irony that the government's heavy-handed approach to this case only serves to underscore the motivations some would say, the necessity for whistleblowing like Manning's in the first place.

The most well-known of the leaked files, a 39-minute video entitled "Collateral Murder", depicts three brutal attacks on civilians by US soldiers during the course of just one day of the Iraq war. The footage, recorded from the cockpit of a US Apache helicopter involved in the attacks, shows the killing of several individuals, including two Reuters journalists, as well as the serious injury of two children. Beyond the chilling images of US soldiers eagerly pleading for chances to shoot, the release of this footage placed a spotlight on the military's blatant mischaracterization of the events, in which a spokesman claimed that there was "no question" that the incident involved engagement with "a hostile force", and underscores the vital role that public scrutiny plays in government accountability. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/24/bradley-manning-show-trial-state-secrecy



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Reply Bradley Manning: a show trial of state secrecy (Original post)
marmar Apr 2012 OP
sabrina 1 Apr 2012 #1
jeff47 Apr 2012 #4
sabrina 1 Apr 2012 #5
jeff47 Apr 2012 #10
sabrina 1 Apr 2012 #17
jeff47 Apr 2012 #18
bemildred Apr 2012 #7
jeff47 Apr 2012 #11
bemildred Apr 2012 #21
jeff47 Apr 2012 #23
bemildred Apr 2012 #25
EFerrari Apr 2012 #8
jeff47 Apr 2012 #12
EFerrari Apr 2012 #13
jeff47 Apr 2012 #14
EFerrari Apr 2012 #15
jeff47 Apr 2012 #16
Angry Dragon Apr 2012 #20
jeff47 Apr 2012 #24
Angry Dragon Apr 2012 #26
jeff47 Apr 2012 #27
Angry Dragon Apr 2012 #28
jeff47 Apr 2012 #29
Angry Dragon Apr 2012 #30
jeff47 Apr 2012 #31
EFerrari Apr 2012 #2
rhett o rick Apr 2012 #3
countryjake Apr 2012 #6
EFerrari Apr 2012 #9
OnyxCollie Apr 2012 #19
CherylK Apr 2012 #22

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 03:14 PM

1. And no one has been held accountable for that crime. The documentary made in Iceland

which showed interviews with the two children who were rescued and their family, was the only acknowledgement of the humanity of the people who were targeted and shot like animals that day. It was tragic to see those little children, especially the little girl who seemed traumatized as could be expected by whole tragic event.

Manning did the right thing by reporting the crimes he became aware of. It says so much about this country, because it's obvious that war crimes are never going to be prosecuted, that it is he, and not the criminals who are on trial.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:15 PM

4. That's because it wasn't a crime.

In the "Collateral Murder" video release, they helpfully point out the guy with the AK-47 and the other guy with a large camera on his shoulder - a device that is commonly mistaken for an anti-tank weapon because they look similar. Thus the pilots opened fire because they had a group of armed people in their sights. As for the civilians that responded, it's pretty logical to assume soldiers are going to be the ones trying to aid wounded solders. So the initial miss-identification due to the weapons carried over to the next "target".

Was it a mistake? Yep. Was it a crime? Nope.

Why not? It was a war. One of the main reason to not go to war is events like this are not a crime.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:33 PM

5. Well, it's nice that you have conducted an investigation, a trial and have reached a conclusion

I don't remember any trial, or even a public investigation. So all we have are the words of those responsible.

Maybe offer your conclusions to the children whose father was killed and they, scarred both physically and emotionally for life. Or the families of the others who were killed that day.

The whole war was a massive war crime, Abu Ghraib was a massive war crime, the crimes reported by Manning, were war crimes.

Sorry, but that incident was as a clear a war crime as any I have ever seen. I refuse to be desensitized to murder. Especially on the scale of the criminal, illegal war in Iraq.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:28 PM

10. If you're going to complain, you should probably pay more attention to what was actually said.

The DoD conducted an investigation and released a public report. Before Manning leaked the video. The classified sections of the report were presumably available to him. Since he leaked them.

Maybe offer your conclusions to the children whose father was killed and they, scarred both physically and emotionally for life. Or the families of the others who were killed that day.

Perhaps you should go read my post again. You seem to have this great difficulty actually reading what I type, and instead imagine something far more right-wing-tool in order to increase your outrage.

My point, which you entirely missed through your outrage, is that a country should avoid going to war because incidents like this will happen and they aren't illegal in war. Misidentifcation happens, and is legal as long as there is an actual basis for the misidentification. Such as the AK-47 in this incident.

the crimes reported by Manning, were war crimes.

Manning leaked no crimes. But don't let the actual law get in the way of your outrage.

Sorry, but that incident was as a clear a war crime as any I have ever seen. I refuse to be desensitized to murder. Especially on the scale of the criminal, illegal war in Iraq.

Really? We incinerated over a million Japanese civilians by firebombing Tokyo in WWII. And we knew we were incinerating civilians - in fact we modified the bombs to increase the number of civilians who would be killed and stripped the guns off the B-29s so they could carry more bombs and incinerate more civilians. And you're outraged by less than a dozen because there's video?

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 09:02 PM

17. DOD investigations do not hold much weight frankly. They are naturally self-serving.

Who represented the victims in that investigation? In fact, had it not been for journalists in Iceland, apparently no one even knew who they were. The news agency whose employees were wrongfully killed were refused any information on what actually happened that day. If this investigation was legitimate, then the DOD should have cooperated and included them, along with the video, in that investigation.

I disagree that everything that happens in a war can be excused, or ruled legitimate 'because it was a war'. There would have been far fewer prosecutions at Nuremberg if that was the case.

And if a country goes to war based on lies, they should have no leeway whatsoever when it comes to crimes like this. To use that 'war' as an excuse to label everything they do there AFTER lying their way into it, 'legitimate' is to condone the initial lie. Like telling a child not to steal, but once the theft is done, to legitimize what s/he does later with the spoils.

Sorry if I misunderstood you, I don't think so. I think I just vehemently disagree with you. Victims deserve justice, the victims of the crime known as the Iraq War, have received no justice, while the perps are allowed to excuse ever criminal act by USING their initial crime to do so.

Edited to add that Manning DID report crimes. We are not talking about the video, but crimes he himself witnessed.

You seem to have little knowledge of what happened with Manning. He reported those crimes, torture, fyi, as required of him according to his oath. He was ignored, AFTER which he became a whistle-blower.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #17)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 09:14 PM

18. Again, I recommend reading what's actually written here, and not the argument in your head.

I disagree that everything that happens in a war can be excused, or ruled legitimate 'because it was a war'. There would have been far fewer prosecutions at Nuremberg if that was the case.

Hey look! You're lying about me again!

Please quote where I say it's "excusable". It's legal. Doesn't mean it's good, or even tolerable. But it's also one of the reasons war is awful. You continue to fly off the handle as if I'm saying this incident was a good thing.

Who represented the victims in that investigation?

Why do you think victims get representation? We don't even require that under US criminal law. Many prosecutors will contact and advocate for victims, but it's not required.

And if a country goes to war based on lies, they should have no leeway whatsoever when it comes to crimes like this.

That's nice. Now you just have to get the Geneva Convention modified to actually recognize that. Then you might have something enforceable.

Sorry if I misunderstood you, I don't think so.

That's because you're arguing with me in your head, instead of arguing with what I actually write.

Victims deserve justice

Yes, and the lack of justice is why war is bad. Or would war be OK if we investigate every death in the war and ensure each one was legal? No? Then perhaps we should go back to trying to not go to war to begin with. Which is what I've been advocating.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:45 PM

7. I'm pretty sure you can still commit crimes in a war.

We made a big deal about that after WWII, still do when it's convenient.

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Response to bemildred (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:29 PM

11. You can, but the AK-47 and the mistaken AT weapon mean it's not a crime. (nt)

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #11)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 09:07 AM

21. Mistakes can be crimes too, you know, that happens frequently in the real world.

Ever wreck your car?

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Response to bemildred (Reply #21)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 04:40 PM

23. War crimes have specific criteria

And that criteria is usually higher than "everyday life", since people are in an inherently violent situation.

If there were no weapons, this incident would have been a war crime. Because there were weapons, it was not.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 04:55 PM

25. Ah, I guess that's all settled then. nt

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:03 PM

8. Wrong. Killing civilians is a crime.

When did DUers start arguing Alberto Gonzalez's viewpoint?

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #8)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:30 PM

12. Targeting civilians is a crime.

The gun and the mistaken anti-tank weapon meant they were mistaken for soldiers. And thus legal targets.

If there were no weapons, it would be a war crime. But there were weapons.

One is not required to check for military ID before attacking someone in a war. Mistaken identity such as this is one of the reasons war is bad.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #12)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:38 PM

13. Bullshit but, you know that.

The Geneva Conventions are written in plain Engish. Go read them.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:42 PM

14. Go ahead and quote where mistaken identity is illegal.

I'll wait.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:51 PM

15. Mistaken identity, my @ss. Are you telling me the Pentagon doesn't know

who it is killing

That's fucking ridiculous on every level.

We've had this conversation before. I keep referring you to the Geneva Conventions and you keep posting as if they don't exist.

That's fine. You do that. You choose your own adventure.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #15)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 09:01 PM

16. So you're operating under the belief that someone in the Pentagon is pulling the triggers?

Perhaps you should take a moment and re-read what I've actually said. Maybe you'll realize that I'm not saying this is incident was good. Or even tolerable. I'm saying bad situations like this are both inevitable and legal which is one of the big reasons war is awful.

I keep referring you to the Geneva Conventions and you keep posting as if they don't exist.

No, I ask you to quote the part that makes it a war crime.

You then hurl more insults and vitriol. But you've yet to produce a quote. Please show me just how wrong I actually am by quoting it.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:06 AM

20. If you kill someone by mistake it is a crime

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #20)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 04:41 PM

24. In the civilian world

This is a war. The job of soldiers is to kill people.

They are not required to check ID before opening fire.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 26, 2012, 08:25 PM

26. So many things wrong with your theory

The war on terror was declared before 9/11/01, so the attack on the World Trade Center was okay because the the other army was just attacking a sensitive building and some civilians just got in the way

According to you anyone killed during a war is okay so why the big deal about the towers??
You can not have it both ways ............ you decide

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #26)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 09:27 AM

27. No, actually the wrong is with your mischaracterizations

Which isn't surprising. A lot of people really, really want there to be a war crime here.

First, the "war on terror" is a euphemism. It is not an actual war.

Second, Al Qaeda isn't an army, nor is it a signatory to the Geneva Conventions.

Third, they intentionally attacked civilians.

According to you anyone killed during a war is okay

Utterly and completely false. But hey, if the lie serves your political goals, go ahead, right?

You can't intentionally kill civilians in a war. The key word is "intentionally". The presence of weapons, helpfully pointed out in the "collateral murder" video, meant it was logical to think they were soldiers.

That's why the attack was legal under the Geneva Convention. If there had been no weapons, then it would have been a war crime. But there were weapons.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #27)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 11:39 AM

28. Go to post #3

you call it a war

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #28)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:36 PM

29. The war in Iraq was a war. The "war on terror" is a euphamism

Congress declared war on Iraq. Thus the fighting in Iraq after that declaration happened...during a war. The "war on terror" has no such declaration. The AUMF that covered Afghanistan is sometimes argued to be "the war on terror", but that didn't cover Iraq - it had it's own AUMF.

Btw, post #3 isn't from me. It's a few posts down from here with a reference to the Emperor's New Clothes.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #29)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:51 PM

30. My mistake I meant #4

You and I will never agree

The Iraq war was illegal
So everyone killed in Afghanistan is a crime??
War crimes??

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #30)

Fri Apr 27, 2012, 02:59 PM

31. You just really aren't bothering to read at all, are you?

After all, the post you replied to destroys the argument you try to make here.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 04:02 PM

2. Obama's DoD Lacanian peep show. n/t

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 04:12 PM

3. And in other news, the boy that revealed the Emperor has no clothes will be hanged. nm

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:34 PM

6. "Democracies die behind closed doors."

Thanks for sharing that article! Tho, reading it makes me sick to think that they are getting away with this outrage, right under our noses. Railroading is bad enough, but an illegal, hidden trial such as this is so far to the extreme, I don't even recognize my country anymore.

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Response to countryjake (Reply #6)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 08:06 PM

9. If all we can do is be the memories for the truth, let's do that. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 11:29 PM

19. K&R. nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 04:17 PM

22. K & R! nt

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